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Economising, Strategising and the Decision to Outsource

  • Leahy, Dermot
  • Montagna, Catia

We study the make-or-buy decision of oligopolistic firms in an industry in which final good production requires specialised inputs. Firms’ mode of operation decision depends on both the incentive to economize on costs and on strategic considerations. We explore the strategic incentives to outsource and show that asymmetric equilibria emerge, with firms choosing different modes of operation, even when they are ex-ante identical. With ex-ante asymmetries, higher cost firms are more likely to outsource. We apply our model to a number of different international trading setups.

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Paper provided by Scottish Institute for Research in Economics (SIRE) in its series SIRE Discussion Papers with number 2011-24.

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Date of creation: 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:edn:sirdps:265
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  1. Gorzig, Bernd & Andreas Stephan, 2003. "Outsourcing and Firm-level Performance," Royal Economic Society Annual Conference 2003 90, Royal Economic Society.
  2. Pol Antràs, 2003. "Firms, Contracts, And Trade Structure," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 118(4), pages 1375-1418, November.
  3. Katharine G. Abraham & Susan K. Taylor, 1993. "Firms' Use of Outside Contractors: Theory and Evidence," NBER Working Papers 4468, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Pol Antràs & Elhanan Helpman, 2003. "Global Sourcing," NBER Working Papers 10082, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. David Hummels & Jun Ishii & Kei-Mu Yi, 1999. "The nature and growth of vertical specialization in world trade," Staff Reports 72, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
  6. Tomiura, Eiichi, 2007. "Foreign outsourcing, exporting, and FDI: A productivity comparison at the firm level," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 72(1), pages 113-127, May.
  7. Francine Lafontaine & Margaret Slade, 2007. "Vertical Integration and Firm Boundaries: The Evidence," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 45(3), pages 629-685, September.
  8. Robert C. Feenstra, . "Integration Of Trade And Disintegration Of Production In The Global Economy," Department of Economics 98-06, California Davis - Department of Economics.
  9. Gene M. Grossman & Elhanan Helpman, 2002. "Integration Versus Outsourcing In Industry Equilibrium," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 117(1), pages 85-120, February.
  10. Gibbons, Robert, 2005. "Four forma(lizable) theories of the firm?," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 58(2), pages 200-245, October.
  11. repec:hrv:faseco:4784029 is not listed on IDEAS
  12. John McLaren, 2000. ""Globalization" and Vertical Structure," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(5), pages 1239-1254, December.
  13. Görg, Holger & Hanley, Aoife, 2004. "Does Outsourcing Increase Profitability?," IZA Discussion Papers 1372, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  14. Robert C. Feenstra & Gordon H. Hanson, 2004. "Ownership and Control in Outsourcing to China: Estimating the Property-Rights Theory of the Firm," NBER Working Papers 10198, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Gene M. Grossman & Elhanan Helpman, 2002. "Outsourcing versus FDI in Industry Equilibrium," Working Papers 148, Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Discussion Papers in Economics..
  16. Robert C. Feenstra & Barbara J. Spencer, 2005. "Contractual Versus Generic Outsourcing: The Role of Proximity," NBER Working Papers 11885, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Spencer, Barbara J & Qiu, Larry D, 2001. "Keiretsu and Relationship-Specific Investment: A Barrier to Trade?," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 42(4), pages 871-901, November.
  18. Shy, Oz & Stenbacka, Rune, 2003. "Strategic outsourcing," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 50(2), pages 203-224, February.
  19. Barbara Spencer, 2005. "International outsourcing and incomplete contracts," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 38(4), pages 1107-1135, November.
  20. Oliver E. Williamson, 2000. "The New Institutional Economics: Taking Stock, Looking Ahead," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 38(3), pages 595-613, September.
  21. McLaren, J, 1996. "Supplier Relations and the Market Context : A Theory of Handshakes," Papers 766, Yale - Economic Growth Center.
  22. Chen, Yongmin & Ishikawa, Jota & Yu, Zhihao, 2001. "Trade Liberalization and Strategic Outsourcing," Discussion Papers 2001-04, Graduate School of Economics, Hitotsubashi University.
  23. Ann Bartel & Saul Lach & Nachum Sicherman, 2005. "Outsourcing and Technological Change," NBER Working Papers 11158, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  24. Keith Head & John Ries & Barbara J. Spencer, 2004. "Vertical Networks and US Auto Parts Exports: Is Japan Different?," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 13(1), pages 37-67, 03.
  25. Nickerson, Jack A. & Vanden Bergh, Richard, 1999. "Economizing in a context of strategizing: governance mode choice in Cournot competition," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 40(1), pages 1-15, September.
  26. Michael D. Whinston, 2003. "On the Transaction Cost Determinants of Vertical Integration," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 19(1), pages 1-23, April.
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